Tuesday, October 26

Brighton Beachboys play Tapestry and Blue at PierFest

- July 19, 2021

With the 50th anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s iconic and scene changing classic album Blue it was not only appropriate that this great work was celebrated in some way but also much anticipated by fans of local heroes Brighton Beachboys. And to combine it with Carole King’s Tapestry made an ideal pairing.

Starting with Blue was the sensible route to go, Mitchell’s folk roots would sit better before the more pop and rock workings of King, and it was definitely the right decision. Purists might argue that tackling this iconic album would be foolhardy, Mitchell in her prime had a huge vocal range, challenging for even the finest singer, and her songs whilst seemingly simple are anything but, their musical construction is complex and her lyrics and phrasing perhaps more so.

So in a the packed Horatio’s Bar on Brighton Palace Pier, with an audience that I would gauge as being 99% hard core Joni fans, anticipation and expectations were high and perhaps nervous.

We need not have been afraid, key members of Brighton Beachboys tackled that definitive sound and did it with style. This was not meant to be a facsimile performance but it certainly captured the sound with reverence to the original.

So on to the vocal, perhaps the most daunting element, not only for the band but also for the audience. We would be the most critical I guess, even more so than if we had been hearing Joni herself as for most of us she could do no wrong.

Vocalist Lisa Abbot proved to be more than up to the task. She delivered each number with style, her phrasing for the most part echoing that of the original, her range perfectly up to the job in hand, as sweet in the upper register as it was moody in the lower and, although this was by no means an impersonation, it certainly captured the essence. It was all if not more than we could have hoped for as almost to a person we sat and mouthed the lyrics along with her.

The second half was given over to Tapestry, King’s best known album which is wall to wall with hits. The full band line up now took to the stage and brilliantly created the sound of the original with note perfect solos, guitar, sax, flute… it was more than impressive and we certainly felt the earth move under our feet despite being on Brighton Palace Pier and only metres above the sea.

Once again Lisa Abbot gave her all, this time employing a hard rock and pop tone to create the sound of the original. The songs sound as good today as they did all those years ago, that is barring the title number Tapestry that has not stood the test of time with its hippy lyric, and I even found myself tapping my foot along to my least favourite number Smackwater Jack!

The evening richly deserved the standing ovations that the band got and the encores of The Locomotion and Pleasant Valley Sunday, penned for The Monkees had people on their feet and dancing.

Please please please, repeat this set, I would happily sit through it over and over!

Andrew Kay

PierFest on Brighton Palace Pier

17 July

Rating: ★★★★★

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